BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- Kimberly-Clark Corp. is banking on people feeling proud of what they've done for the planet when they flush, and giving its Scott Naturals brand credit for that warm feeling.
In an unusual green-themed promotion backed by national TV, print and in-store advertising, Scott Naturals this month and next is giving away 750,000 Scott SmartFlush toilet-tank inserts, which the brand claims can save a typical family 2,000 gallons of water a year.
Doug Daniels, brand manager of strategy and innovation for Scott, believes the brand's heritage of thrift, combined with the green focus of its 40%-recycled Naturals line, is a perfect fit with an item that saves water.
"It helps drive awareness of the Scott brand, but more importantly, about what we feel is the next looming resource threat," said Mr. Daniels.
Flushing accounts for about 25% of household water usage, he said. "The toilet is the area of the home where water is used most. We're also looking at the usage occasion most synonymous with our product. It's an opportunity to save our planet's water and our consumer's money one flush at a time."
K-C is putting an unspecified amount of marketing support behind a campaign led by independent Tris3ct, Chicago, and WPP Shopper Marketing that includes TV, print, newspaper coupon inserts and in-store ads, including video shelf ads from News Corp.'s SmartSource and possibly the Walmart Smart Network.
The program, which will distribute the inserts attached to eight- and 12-count packs of Scott Naturals toilet paper through October, has been embraced by Walmart, Target and other national chains, Mr. Daniels said.
Mr. Daniels called the SmartFlush inserts, which their manufacturer believes can last as long as a decade in the toilet tank, a "first-of-its-kind innovation" for the category.
Putting bricks in toilet tanks to reduce water usage is an idea that's been around since at least the first Earth Day in 1970. But bricks aren't all they're cracked up to be, Mr. Daniels said.
SmartFlush "works on the same principle as the brick, but it's actually better for the toilet," he said. Bricks don't actually deliver that much water savings, he said. Besides being porous, they sink to the bottom. And since most U.S. toilet tanks don't evacuate fully when flushed, that means they don't displace as much water as SmartFlush, which hangs from the top of the tank.
The Scott insert works for most toilets, including 1.6-gallon-per-flush low-flow models, but not some European-style high-efficiency models. And Mr. Daniels said the inserts won't affect the all-important area of evacuation.
"It didn't have any impact on performance from the testing we've done on all major varieties of toilets in the country," Mr. Daniels said. "It held up against stringent standards."
Recession or no, people haven't become any less interested in helping the environment, he said. "But they don't want to do it if it means sacrificing quality or price."